By Stephen Downes
June 9, 2004

Ed Radio
So anyhow, today was another busy day, with only a short time available to produce the newsletter. But instead of producing the newsletter, I did this. James Farmer, you see, had this neat idea to record Ed Tech papers. It was well received, and so he started today, recording Educational Software and Learning: Subversive Use and Volatile Design by David Squires using Audacity, a free sound recorder.

Well, I harvest his feed (and many others) in Edu_RSS, and I didn't like the idea of merely producing a tape, so I tweaked Edu_RSS to produce a SMIL file, which can be played as a radio station on your computer. It is not without its glitches - James's recording won't play for me, for example. But it works. So I won't say that I've shown it can be done professionally, or even well, but I've shown it can be done: using an RSS harvester to automatically create a niche web radio station.

Any advice, suggestions, examples of actual working SMIL (or other) files would be appreciated. In the meantime, Ed Radio will continue to broadcast new MP3 content daily as long as people create it. So, bloggers, dust off your microphones, record a paper or just your thoughts on the subject, get it listed in a feed harvested by Edu_RSS and be part of some instructional designer's background noise. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, June 9, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Networked Learning Conference 2004
Proceedings from the Networked Learning Conference 2004, held at Lancaster University, England, UK, April 5-7, 2004. An outstanding resource, via the E-Learning centre, this website contains the full text of dozens and dozens of papers from this large conference. This is how research should conducted online - open access, easy-to-read HTML format. Beautiful. Magnificent. By various Authors, Networked Learning Conference 2004, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Networked Learning and Networked Information
This paper contains an important message, that "integration between different environments, including those delivering information and those supporting learning, is the key requirement." The idea is that "information environments need to be closely integrated with the environments in which their users undertake their mainstream tasks and activities." These observations were reached during the course of the Evaluation of the Distributed National Electronic Resource (EDNER) project described in this paper. Some of the issues raised won't be resolved as simply as the author seems to suggest - it is more than ensuring "that we are all talking the same language" (because this will never happen. Still, good read on an important issue. If you like this, you will also want to read Margaret Markland and Bob Kemp's Integrating Digital Resources into Online Learning Environments, which also discusses EDNER. By Peter Brophy, Networked Learning Conference 2004, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Role Of Learning Technology Practitioners And Researchers In Understanding Networked Learning
This is a neat paper that captures an issue close to my heart, describing the "divide between learning technologists which have a practical, practitioner support focus and those with more of a research orientation." The author asks, "How can we ensure that the research does inform practice and vice verse?" Well, speaking from the practical, practitioner side, I can offer one suggestion: speed up the research process. yes, I know that research takes time, but the two year lag publishing results is a real problem. Research that describes the impact of three or four year old technology is not useful. And make the research accessible: this online publication is fabulous; making such works regularly available with RSS feeds would be even better. Additionally, researchers should recognize the work of practitioners as data. I read a paper on blogs just a few days ago that said no work had been done on blogs, because the only publication available on the subject was somebody's Master's thesis. Ridiculous. By Grainne Conole, Networked Learning Conference 2004, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Online Newspapers Don't Get It
In the wake of a recent announcement that The Age, an Australian newspaper, is joining the increasing number of newspapers requiring registration, I spent some time this week griping on the Online news mailing list about how such practices were breaking the internet by creating links that mislead readers, taking them to registration pages instead of the articles they were promised. In this light, I ran across BugMeNot, a site that allows users to spoof newspaper page registrations, and the interesting follow-up discussion at Poynter. The whole discussion convinces me that the title article here is correct: newspapers don't get the internet. "Instead of scouting the best blog and independent news reporting talent to create a thematic content powerhouse, they insist in massaging original content into shallow uninteresting stories with no punch or real insight. One thing is sure to me: when they will disappear completely, no one will notice." Yup. By Luigi Canali De Rossi, Robin Good, June 9, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

An Exploratory Study to Examine the Feasibility of Measuring Problem- Solving Processes
I'm not really into online assessment, but for those who are, the Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment will prove useful - and all articles are available for free online, which makes me happy. Even so, I lingered on the site for a while and found this item worth a mention - it deals with the capture and interpretation of 'clickstream data' in assessment and suggests that the same technique can be used to personalize instruction. "the act of clicking reflects the result of participants reasoning and judgment." By Gregory K. W. K. Chung and Eva L. Baker, JTLA, Volume 2, Number 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

SkillSoft as Buyout Bait
Good earning but soft bookings for SkillSoft leads this writer at Motley Fool to suggest it is ripe for acquisition, naming several potential purchasers, including the University of Phoenix. By Tom Taulli, Motley Fool, June 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Who Needs Multimedia?
Article defending the use of multimedia in e-learning. While I am supportive, I don't think this is well argued. I think that audio, to be effective, does require broadband and does require a player - Java won't do the job. I think that multimedia, even audio, is time-consuming to produce. All of that said, I still think it's worth the effort - not as your primary content, but as another layer of content. Via ERN. By Steve Olenick, LTI Magazine, June 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Freely Available Scholarly Educational Technology Journals - for Higher Education
James Farmer is compiling this list, which he is storing on his (slightly malfunctioning) Wiki. Now, if only we had RSS feeds from each of these. By James Farmer, Incorporated Subversion, June 9, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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